The sports world continues to be mostly shut down with the spread of the coronavirus, but that hasn’t stopped the National Football League from continuing operations. NFL free agency started Monday, and there have already been a slew of major deals, or trades, that will have a huge impact on NFL betting when the games begin in 2020.
Cowboys Franchise Tag Star Quarterback
The Dallas Cowboys wasted little time in placing the executive franchise tag on quarterback Dak Prescott. Dallas is still hoping to negotiate an extension with their young QB, but talks over the past year have not yielded to any new deal being signed.
The exclusive franchise tag means that Prescott is not able to talk to or negotiate with other teams during the free agency period. Kirk Cousins is the only quarterback to receive the exclusive franchise tag and not reach a deal with his team, which was the Washington Redskins.
The exact numbers are not set yet, but the franchise tag will pay Prescott somewhere between $30 and $33 million this season. The Cowboys had close to $79 million in cap space heading into free agency, but this deal takes a large chunk of that money.
Cousins, Vikings Agree on Extension
Cousins and the Minnesota Vikings have agreed to a two-year contract extension on a deal that is worth $66 million. The Vikings have guaranteed $61 million to their quarterback as part of the deal.
Cousins was to be paid $29.5 million during the 2020 season, which was the final year of his contract that was signed in 2018. With the new deal, Cousins will gain an additional $10 million for this season, meaning that he will be making close to $40 million in guaranteed money in 2020.
The major difference in this new extension with the Vikings is that it does not carry a full no-trade clause like Cousins had on his previous deal with the Vikings. Cousins threw 26 touchdowns to just six interceptions a season ago, and that included a Wild Card round playoff win over the New Orleans Saints.
Falcons Cut Freeman
The Atlanta Falcons are releasing running back Devonta Freeman to save money against the salary cap. Freeman, a two-time Pro Bowl running back with the Falcons still had three years remaining on his contract and was set to be paid $21 million.
This move will save the cash-strapped Atlanta Falcons $3.5 million towards the salary cap. Injuries plagued Freeman over the past three seasons, but he was a key part of their Super Bowl run in 2016.
Freeman posted back-to-back 1,000-yard rushing seasons in 2015 and 2016 and did a little bit of everything in 2016. He racked up over 1,500 all-purpose yards and was one of the key components of one of the highest-scoring teams in the NFL.
The Falcons are expected to look for replacements on the defensive side of the ball.
Cardinals Get Hopkins from Texans
The Houston Texans have agreed to trade star wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins to the Arizona Cardinals for running back David Johnson. The Texans will also be sending a late-round pick to the Cardinals in exchange for a second-round pick in 2020.
Houston will pick up all of Johnson’s remaining salary, which will total up to be over $18 million in cap hits over the next two seasons. Hopkins is owed $14 million in 2020, and the Cardinals will be paying for their new star.
Hopkins has had three straight 1,000-yard receiving years for the Texans who will now team up with young quarterback Kyler Murray.